Up On the Rooftop was borne of a passion for urban small space gardening (in particular fresh, organic edibles) and a desire to encourage other city dwellers to grow a little of their own food, create green spaces in their homes for their therapeutic qualities, plant trees (the lungs of the planet), connect with nature and live more sustainably in the context that we find ourselves.
My urban growing space is “up on a rooftop”, a top storey apartment balcony garden where I do all these things with great success…the journey has been as much about experimentation and failure as it has been success and garden to table eating.
In 2016 my household shrank from four adults to two, we became the proverbial “empty nesters” and it was time to embark on a journey of rediscovering a new way of living a big life in a small way.
A long story short, I left fulltime employment, we moved from the large quarter acre home to an apartment in a leafy suburb about 18 kilometers from the city. I de-cluttered, minimised, cut back on excessive spending, de-cluttered again and found my happy place in connecting with Earth and the rhythm of the natural world.
I attended a residential Permaculture design course and gained my certification which provided me with the philosophical framework that has been life changing and affirming.
Most of us are used to the idea that providing for human needs, such as our food, fuel and clothing is inherently destructive to natural systems. However, many human cultures have lived in harmony with their environments, consuming far less than modern industrial peoples. Permaculture draws insights from these traditional cultures, from modern sciences and from personal observations of nature, to collect new and old ways of providing for human needs that are not only sustainable, but regenerative.
Adapting these principles to my own life and the practices I employ in creating my edible garden I have discovered a way of living in a modern urban context in the suburbs that is as sustainable and regenerative as possible, whilst learning to tread with gentle footfall on the planet. By living in sync with nature, listening, observing and learning, I have been able to produce over 80kg annually of my own organically grown vegetables, herbs and fruit from my Balcony farm.
My small values-based business was a natural progression from this lifestyle as I saw increasing interest in the gentle ways of urban farming for food production, mental health and recreation. The more I spoke to people of my journey down at the shops, in my former workplace, with friends and family, the more I realised how much my journey resonated with others from all situations, communities and demographics. The most common questions related to how I was able to grow in a small-space situation. It made absolute sense to try to find a way of bringing the methods and products I used to this market so that others could find success in growing their own urban gardens. Up on the Rooftop was born!
The Balcony Farm featured as a case study in Angus Stewart's award winning book, Grow Your Own Food - How to be an Urban Farmer, and a wonderful relationship has continued of teacher and friend! The book is a fabulous resource for those starting out on their edible garden journey.
In October 2020 the Balcony garden featured in Episode 32 of the popular national gardening show ABC Gardening Australia. "Wendy is an urban farmer and lives the experience of growing in restricted spaces and containers." Take a tour of the garden with Costa Giorgiadis VIEW VIDEO
I've become aware that my story resonates with many urban dwellers - young, mature, male, female, those striking out on their own for the first time and those with many journeys around the Sun, but all embarking on new beginnings, a search for those steps towards living a better quality of life.
We are a business in its infancy but ever so keen to give-back beyond mentoring and sharing my gardening journey and knowledge whenever possible. To that end, the business sponsors prizes towards events and provides donations to charitable and environmental groups as well as speaking at local community events such as the Ryde Council Sustainability Evening and garden clubs.
Up on The Rooftop is for you, the urban city small space dweller living a compact space and yearning for a simplified life. I'll pass on to you interesting readings and musings that will inform your choices on this journey; also, I will make available to you a carefully curated range of products that are on the Up on The Rooftop digital store shelf because I believe they are worth having – each comes with a winsome story of innovators who saw that something could be done better, a tradition, a craftsmanship or is just too darn smart not to make it known to you, but above all they satisfy five critical values:
So take a look at my blog musings and these noteworthy objets de désir and enjoy your journey to doing more, with less!
Wendy – Curator at Up On The Rooftop